NORFOLK — Each year, the typical American consumes more than 18 pounds of bacon, according to Old Dominion University student Janay Brown, who said she hopes to take bacon consumption to the next level through her bacon-focused business Full Belly Delights.
Full Belly Delights provides gourmet, handcrafted bacon truffles, bacon pops, and flavored bacon. Much like a traditional chocolate box, Brown has developed an array of flavors and toppings, like Choconut, Give Me S’more, and a spicy HOT Chocolate.
“We are taking bacon off breakfast tables, off burgers, off salads and putting it in to something new,” Brown said. “We are taking it to the next level.”
Today, Brown’s bacon business is booming, but according to the sophomore business management major, the enterprise began by accident.
“It started as a project for a high school business class that became more successful than its original purpose,” she said. “That one project turned into 90 orders within one month. Two years later, here I am with a full-fledged business.”
A lot has happened since Brown officially established the business as an LLC in October 2015.
Brown partnered with a local catering company to use their kitchens. She also began working with the Strome Entrepreneurial Center at ODU to develop a budget and strategic marketing plan for Full Belly Delights, which has virtually zero competition, Brown said, noting her closest competitor is located in Florida.
Brown hopes to leverage this advantage by cornering a variety of unique markets, including weddings, charity events, businesses, and local foodies.
So far, most of Brown’s business is generated through the Full Belly Delights website, which launched this past September, but she hopes to expand her outside sales through regular pop-ups around Hampton Roads.
The start-up’s most recent pop-ups at O’Connor Brewing Co. and Williams-Sonoma in the MacArthur Center have been an incredible success for the business, and have allowed Brown to learn more about her customer-base, she said.
After receiving feedback from the public, Brown said she has started offering turkey bacon treats as a more health-conscious option, and is currently developing ideas for vegan and vegetarian options.
Also in the works: plans for expansion.
According to Brown, Full Belly Delights is not too far off from hiring some full-time employees and establishing a retail location in Hampton Roads.
Currently, Brown dedicates at least 30 hours a week to Full Belly Delights on top of her regular school work, and hopes that some extra hands will give her time to focus on the bigger picture.
“Once we have an established location, we’d like to expand to other cities,” she said. “We really want to be in Texas.”
Once she graduates from college, Brown expects the business to become a full-time passion — one that’s been in the making since she was a kid.
“I started watching the food channel and cooking all kinds of food when I was seven years old,” she said. “I know the true potential of this company and exactly where I want to take it.”
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